Friday, February 16, 2007

Ken Irby Reads Poetry at the Spencer Museum of Art Feb. 15

I have heard Ken Irby read poetry for most of my adult life--since he moved back to Lawrence in the 80s. Each time I cannot find the right words to describe the effect: a 360-degree word map that must be viewed from all angles at once; a fractal skin of words; if math posits 8 or 12 dimensions by now, Irby's poetry oscillates among 5 or 6 of them at least; a looping double helix that recharges with new matter every 3 minutes. I recall lush images from the "Homage to Gerrit Lansing": "citrine crisp" and cedar waxwings and blossoms in an enclosed garden that suffuse into the background. When I have leisure, I want to write about the birds that appear in Irby's work.

A new poem is from Jan. 4, 2007, beginning with a wait in the post office line--which sets the pace for the entire day seeming to be slow; then also sets the pace for the entire piece. I continue to learn from Irby with each such reading and each conversation. Photography by Denise Low.